Spring Poppies of El Paso — Part 1


California Poppies in the Franklin Mountains

This week and next I’m going to go into cruise control and just post a lot of pictures at an annual floral event here in El Paso, Texas. And this year is an exceptional one. It’s our annual blooming of California poppies along the eastern slopes of the Franklin Mountains. I’m also going to intersperse photos of these poppies with some flowing in my own yard. So, why is this year so spectacular? Because we’ve had an exceptionally wet spring. El Paso normally gets around 9.71 inches/247mm (30-year average) of  annual precipitation, and most of that falls from early July through the end of September. So far, we’ve had 3.01 inches/78mm!

California Poppies in the Franklin Mountains

Additionally over the next two weeks I’ll treat you to the annual blooming of the scarlet hedgehog cacti in our yard:

Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus

So, from where did these poppies originate? There are a lot of urban legends about that, but the documented account is that these poppy fields came about in 1931 when, according to the El Paso Times:

“El Paso business men see a business asset as well as beauty in a Mt. Franklin with with poppy covered slopes.

“L. E. Saunders, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said he is ‘strong’ for the Herald-Post campaign to broadcast poppy seed over the barren mesas and foothills of Mount Franklin.”

California Poppies in the Franklin Mountains

But I have another story to go along with that, because I seem to recall working in the control tower at El Paso International Airport back in the mid to late ’80s, and watching an aircraft reseed these areas with a low-level airdrop. Alas, I cannot find any accounts of this to back up my recollection, so I may be misremembering it

California Poppies in the Franklin Mountains

At any rate, let’s continue with the flowers, shall we:

California Poppies in the Franklin Mountains

California Poppies in the Franklin Mountains

California Poppies in the Franklin Mountains

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